Archive for August, 2010

Supporters of the Ground Zero Mosque Don’t Get It

August 23, 2010

President Barack Obama and New York officials don’t understand that for many Americans, especially New Yorkers, building a mosque near Ground Zero is the equivalent of waving a Confederate flag at a Dr. Martin Luther King anniversary ceremony.

I have no interest in visiting a mosque because I’m not a Muslim. I wouldn’t wave a Confederate flag because my great grandfather who was a sergeant in the 72nd Indiana Regiment in the Civil War might turn over in his grave.

I have nothing against those who wave the Confederate Battle flag (or Rebel flag) that Confederate soldiers carried when they were attempting to kill my great grandfather. (For those who don’t know, the flag we associate with the Confederacy was initially only used on the field of battle.)

I realize that the privates and sergeants who wanted to kill my great grandfather were only attempting to protect their homes from an invading army. Like my great grandfather they were fighting because the politicians of their day couldn’t find a peaceful solution to their controversies.

The Confederate flag may be a symbol of defiance of authority, but it isn’t a symbol of racism. For many southerners it’s a symbol of the willingness of their ancestors to risk their lives to defend their homes even in a losing cause. Southerners may have occasionally displayed their flag when protesting civil rights activities, but that was because they liked to display it on public occasions including parades and sporting events.

The Virginian I roomed with my sophomore year had a Confederate flag on the wall next to his bed, but he wasn’t a racist. In fact he was studying to be a missionary to Africa and worked with black kids at a local church.

The white robes of the Ku Klux Klan and their practice of desecrating the cross by burning it are the real symbols of southern racism.

Many Americans have a negative view of the Muslim religion because the al Qaeda killers who attacked the World Trade Center claimed to be acting on behalf of the Muslim religion. The violent Muslims who use mosques to meet and plan terrorist actions may be a minority of Muslims, but they are the ones who get the publicity.

When many Americans think of Muslims, they think of terrorists. Many Americans fear that the violent Muslims might claim a victory, or even use, a mosque constructed near Ground Zero.

Nonviolent Muslims are the majority, but they don’t get the publicity. Muslims who want to build near Ground Zero should delay plans to construct the facility until they can convince critics that nonviolent Muslims are the real representatives of Islam and the terrorists who murder Muslims and non-Muslims alike are not the real representatives of Muslims.

The Christian book of Revelation describes a person called the anti-Christ who is Satan masquerading as Jesus Christ. The Ku Klux Klan falsely claims to act on behalf of Christianity while furthering the cause of Satan . Nonviolent Muslims need to convince Americans that members of al Qaeda are the Muslim equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan who claim to be acting on behalf of Allah when they are really serving Satan.